What is autism
Autism, [autism spectrum disorder (ASD)], covers a range of neurodevelopmental conditions that signifies challenges faced with respect to repetitive behaviors, social skills, vocal and nonverbal communication.Being a broad spectrum disorder, the affected individuals have a definite set of challenges and strengths in the way they think, learn, and resolve their issues.
When can autism be detected?
Early diagnosis of autism can be made as early as 12-18 months, which can be seen in the form of delays in normal development. Its indicators are detected by 2 to 3 years of age. When detected at an early age, and treated aggressively it will result in positive outcomes reflected later in the patient’s life.
What are the signs and symptoms of autism?
Signs and symptoms of autism are varied and include:
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Difficulty communicating (can communicate with parents easily, however it is difficult to communicate with friends or other people).
- Lack of interest in people or gestures (pointing)
- Avoidance in social-play
- Lack of orientation
- Repetitive behaviors
Why is making eye contact difficult for autistic person?
There is very high activation of the subcortical system of the brain which is considered to be the pathway useful in the recognition and detection of the face. Thus, making eye contact becomes difficult for autistic patients.
What causes autism?
Exact cause of autism is unknown, thus it is believed that differences in the development of brain lead to autism. Also, complex genetic factors are considered to be one of the causative factors.
Is there any test to diagnose autism? How will you diagnose autism?
There are no special tests to diagnose autism. It is diagnosed based on:
- Assessment of the child's developmental history
- Child’s behavior observation (social communication and interaction)
- Scales used by pediatricians include the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
- Caretaker is interviewed.
Can autism be caused by watching television or exposure to radiation/mercury or drinking during pregnancy?
Causes of autism are unknown, and genetic predisposition is considered one of the causes of autism. There is no established evidence for these causes of autirm - watching television or exposure to radiation/mercury or drinking during pregnancy.
Is autism curable?
Autism is not fully treatable. It is treatable in cases where underlying medical conditions result in the development of autism symptoms. In the process of assessing and intervening an autistic individual his/her individuality and uniqueness should be noted. When an autistic person is apprpriatel educated and provided support, it can help in the fulfilment of their potential.
What are the treatments options for autism?
There are many therapies like speech therapy to improve communication and behavior modification, Occupational therapy for treating sensory issues, while social skills training to improve socialization. Depending upon the needs of the Autistic patient, the treatment plan is designed
How do I identify whether the type of autism is genetic in origin?
The physician will take the family history and conduct a physical examination.Order genetic testing, thereafter, which includes blood and urine test. Medical geneticist can help in genetic testing, and genetic counsellor can provide genetic counselling.